Orioles manager Buck Showalter wants right-hander Bud Norris to resume a standard pitching routine now that he’s returned from the 15-day disabled list.
So, because of the All-Star break next week, it means Norris’ next start won’t come in the big leagues.
On Thursday afternoon, the club optioned Norris to Double-A Bowie. He could pitch there on regular rest Monday, then return July 20 during the Orioles’ series against the Oakland Athletics upon fulfilling the required 10 days in the minor leagues.
This has been a common practice for the Orioles. Over the past two seasons, they have sent starters Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Tillman to the minors to get in work during the All-Star break.
In a corresponding move Thursday, the Orioles recalled reliever Preston Guilmet from Triple-A Norfolk. Guilmet has pitched in nine games for the club this year, tossing 9 1/3 innings and allowing six earned runs (5.79 ERA). The right-hander yielded runs in his final four appearances after five consecutive scoreless outings.
Considering that Norris has an 0-2 record and 9.35 ERA in four lifetime outings against the Athletics, he will more likely return to the majors during the series against the Los Angeles Angels that begins June 21. He has a 3-0 record and an 0.32 ERA against the Angels.
Norris went 17 days between starts after he began to feel tightness in his groin June 21 against the New York Yankees. He was diagnosed with a strain and went on the disabled list, then didn’t take the mound for the Orioles again until Wednesday.
As a result, Norris couldn’t have pitched again before the All-Star break unless he was used as an emergency reliever Sunday.
“Having another 11, 12, 13 [days] before his next start is something we’d like to stay away from,” Showalter said. “He’s already had his All-Star break.”
Norris is very close to the point where his accumulated service time would give him the right to refuse an optional assignment, but not close enough. The assignment apparently will not have an impact on his arbitration eligibility.
After yielding five runs in as many innings against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, Norris acknowledged feeling sore at the end of the outing.
On Thursday afternoon, he still didn’t feel free of discomfort.
“It’s still a little achy here and there,” Norris said. “It’s not going to go away right away. But I feel pretty good.”
Norris is 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA for the Orioles. Wednesday’s 6-2 loss ended a season-high four-game winning streak.
Guilmet's last action with the Orioles came June 5, when he allowed a run in one-third of an inning. He was optioned to Norfolk the next day.
In 28 games with the Tides, Guilmet has posted a 4.45 ERA with better than a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Guilmet was the club’s 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox, but he didn’t pitch.